Center for Biological Diversity

Media Advisory, May 9, 2023

Contact:

Gail Evans, (505) 463-5293, gevans@biologicaldiversity.org

Rally to Launch Landmark N.M. Constitutional Lawsuit Over Oil, Gas Pollution

SANTA FE, N.M.— A coalition of Indigenous peoples, youth, frontline community members and environmental groups will rally in front of the First Judicial District Court of New Mexico tomorrow to mark the filing of a lawsuit against New Mexico, the state legislature, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and other defendants for violating their state constitutional duty to control the oil and gas industry’s growing pollution.

“New Mexico’s failure to control oil and gas pollution violates our constitution and fundamental human rights to clean air, land and water,” said Gail Evans, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute and lead counsel on the case. “If concern for our environment and public health won’t push New Mexico’s leaders to control the reckless oil and gas industry, we hope legal action will.”

What: Rally to launch lawsuit defending constitutional rights to a beautiful and healthful environment, featuring statements by plaintiffs and attorneys, as well as chants, banners and visuals.

When: 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. MT, Wednesday, May 10.

Where: First Judicial District Court of New Mexico, 225 Montezuma Ave., Santa Fe, N.M. 87501, outside the building’s front entrance.

Who: Representatives of Indigenous Lifeways, Pueblo Action Alliance, Youth United for Climate Crisis Action, Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians, individual plaintiffs and their supporters.

Background:

The first-of-its-kind lawsuit seeks compliance with the pollution control clause of the New Mexico Constitution under Article 20, Section 21. No previous lawsuit has targeted the 1971 amendment, which mandates that the state prevent the despoilment of New Mexico’s air, water and other natural resources, and protect the state’s beautiful and healthful environment.

The lawsuit demands that the state comply with its constitutional duty and that permitting of oil and gas wells be suspended in the meantime.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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